Discursive Analysis of the Accounts of Victims of Racist Incidents

Chahal, Kusminder (2009). Discursive Analysis of the Accounts of Victims of Racist Incidents. MRes thesis The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000f28e

Abstract

In this study I focus on identifying power and processes of ‘Othering’ in the accounts of victims of racist incidents by identifying discursive repertoires and using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA). By re-analysing in-depth interviews with victims of racist incidents I have been able to identify discursive repertoires that occur in the speech of those who are othered through their lived experience of racism. Practitioners of CDA have given limited attention to exploring the lived experiences of minority groups but this study has shown distinctive patters of self and other positioning in their discourse. Racist markers, actions that could only be explained in the context of racism, served as a powerful tool to exclude and act as a reminder of the non-acceptance of minority groups. These markers were constructed through discourses of the Other, repertoires such as disruption and disapproval acted through name-calling, gendered racism, a continuum of violence with consequences that included emotional (shame and embarrassment), psychological harm and spirit murder (or total harm) arising from the accumulation of everyday racist experiences. This study suggests that revisiting qualitative data is a productive activity and sheds new light on existing social issues and that by focusing on a reanalysis new perspectives can be drawn or examined that were not central to the original research. The study also suggests that more research may be required in exploring discourses of the Other as identified by the Other.

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